As the world is slowly opening back up, and we get comfortable traveling again, some of us will be flying with extra passengers. There is a whole generation of new parents who have never been on a flight with their babies or toddlers before. And for others, their family has grown by a kid or two since they last travelled by air.
The thought of travelling with wee ones can be very daunting. As a mama who has traveled extensively with very small kiddos (and a lot of them at once, might I add), I’m hoping these bits of advice will help ease anxious parents!
Make all of your arrangements in advance
I once endured a 20-hour flight with five children – and the oldest was six years old. I notified the airline in advance of our travel date, to make them aware of my unique family and shared my special requests. I explained that I could not check my double stroller until we were at the gate. I let them know how many children’s meals were required and any dietary restrictions. I even got a bit cheeky and asked if it was possible that my big, crazy family could have any conveniences such as bypassing lines. As I say to my kids: “NOs are free – might as well ask!”
There is no shame in asking for assistance
How old is your baby? If you recently had a rough delivery or a c-section, don’t hesitate to request a wheelchair. I once flew overseas a couple of weeks after my fifth c-section. The wheelchair allowed me to transport the infant and a toddler or two on my lap. There were other helpful conveniences that came along with the wheelchair, including having airport assistance.
Request a sky cot
This is a little bassinette in the bulkhead of the cabin. It is very handy to be able to put a baby down while tending to a toddler. I always put my requests in writing and bring copies of them with me when I travel.
Bring the car seat
If you are travelling with a toddler, be sure to bring a car seat on the flight. It is wonderful to be able to put them in their car seat for meals or movie time. The might even be happy sitting still! Because the car seat is familiar, they are comfortable napping in it.
While you may pack extra diapers and clothes for baby, don’t forget to throw some extra clothes in a Ziplock – or better yet, a Bumkins Bag – for you! I learned that lesson the hard way after having a child vomit all over me halfway through a ten hour flight. I was one stinky mama!
Parents are eager to travel now. Grandparents and friends who live far away are excited to see the new additions to the family. While it can be tricky to navigate travel with little ones, I always reminded myself that I can do anything for a few hours, and the reward on the other end was always worth it!